How To Change a Mountain Bike Tire? A Step-by-step Guide for Beginners

Flat tires are inevitable when mountain biking. When you ride fast through rocks, roots, or just fast flow, your mountain bike's tires are pushed to their limits. Mountain bikers should know how to change a flat tire as a matter of course. If you can fix a flat on the trail, you won't have to push your bike home, which would be painful and embarrassing.

Type of mountain bike tire

how to change a mountain tire bike

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Before we talk about how to change a flat mountain bike tire, knowing what kind of flat tire you have will be helpful so you can deal with it correctly. Most of the time, there are two kinds of flat tires:


Sharp sticks, rocks, thorns, and other sharp objects are the most common things that cause flat tires. Often found as a single hole in both the tube and tire treads.

Pinch flats

Pinch flats are often caused by low tire pressure, which squeezes the tube between the rim and something square, like a rock. People also call pinch flats "snake bites" because they make two holes in the box that look like a snake bit.

Tools you need 

To fix a flat tire while riding, you need to carry a few tools and supplies.


  • Spare tube: Whether your bike has tubes or not, you will need a spare tube to fix a flat.

  • Hand pump/CO2 cartridge: You can fill up a flat tire with a pump or CO2. When you buy a pump or a CO2 adapter, make sure the valve fits your tubes. A presta valve is the one that is used most often.

  • Tire lever: If you have arms like Popeye, you don't need a tire lever, but it always helps to get a stuck tire off of your rim.

Optional Tools

  • Bacon strips/tire plugs: These plugs are used to fix small holes in tubeless tires that the sealant can't fix on its own. These are good to have around for small holes.

  • Tire boot: If your tire's sidewall is severely damaged, a tire boot will keep the new tube from pushing out of the side of the tire as it is inflated.

  • Patch kit: A tube can be fixed with a patch kit. This process is often slow, so you shouldn't do it on the trail.

How to change a mountain bike tire

how to change a mountain tire bike

Photo: Canva

The main point of this article is how to change the tires on a mountain bike. We will show you step by step how to remove a bike tire from the frame wheel and put on a new one when the damage is too bad for a simple tube replacement.

Removing the wheel from the bike

When dealing with a flat tire during an outside ride, you must carefully invert your bicycle so that the seat and handlebar are on the ground and the wheel is facing up. Then, disable your brakes to remove the front wheel, then shift into the shortest gear to remove the rear wheel.

During disengaging brakes, you must determine what brakes your bicycle has, as the two types may have distinct handling characteristics. Whether your bike has a V-brake or rim brakes, you can separate the curved aluminum cable connected to the brake lines and the caliper by squeezing them together.

Because mountain bikers require a more robust braking system, most bikes use disc brakes. If your bicycle's braking system consists of disc brakes, you must rotate the skewer or tire lever on the frame near the wheel axle. Try not to push your bike's lever once the wheel has been removed to avoid extending the brake pads too far and making reinstallation more difficult.

Take off the tire from the rim

It would help if you deflated the remaining air pressure in your bicycle's tire before attempting to remove it. To remove the tire bead from the rim, you must pinch the tire on one side of the edge. Doing so gives you sufficient space to use your tire lever. Pull one side of the tire over the rim to gain access to a flat tube or tubeless sealant.

Removing the old tire tube

As the valve stem connects to the tube and not the tire, it is necessary to remove the tire before drawing the line. Locate the valve stem and tighten the cap, then push the branch out of the rim's valve hole and pull the remaining tube.

If you are using a tubeless tire, you must remove the tire from the rim and inspect the chamber within the tire.

Once the tube has been extracted, the exterior must be inspected for pinches, cracks, tears, or other unusual objects. You can also check for leaks by lowering the tube into a shallow pail of water and observing the presence of bubbles.

As part of bike maintenance, here are a few things to keep in mind while replacing tubes:

  • Typically, a mountain bike should be replaced after approximately 2,000 to 3,000 miles of riding.

  • Using the tire levers, remove the tire from the rim if debris is found inside the tire chamber and puncture the tube if debris is located inside the tire chamber and puncture the line.

Replacing the tire and tube

After removing the old tire and tube, learning how to reinstall and replace a mountain bike tire is necessary. You can take the following steps:

  • Line the valve stem with the valve hole on the rim.

  • Follow the rim with your fingers as you insert the tube into the tire.

  • With one hand, hold the tire away from the rim while using the other to compress the tube into position.

To avoid developing a fresh puncture when attempting to install the tube, you should avoid using tire levers while squeezing it in. You can then reinflate your tire using a hand pump or CO2 cartridge. You may adjust the tire pressure based on your riding style and body weight. Use the pressure gauge to check the tire pressure on your bicycle.

Once your bike tire has been reinflated to its original shape, you can reattach it to the frame by aligning the axle between the edge until you hear a clicking sound. Finally, use a wrench to tighten the frame's nut while holding the lever.

If your bicycle has rim brakes, reassemble the noodle and caliper while repositioning the brake pads on the rim; flip the skewer or lever down for disc brakes.

Tubeless tips

Going tubeless is one of the best strategies to reduce flat tires and make changing them more accessible. Specific punctures can be sealed without removing the wheel from the bicycle, whereas catastrophic tubeless failures still require a replacement tube. If you discover a small puncture in a tubeless wheel and the sealant is not holding, use a bacon strip or a tire plug to plug the hole. Seal the hole, rotate the tire, so the puncture faces downward, or spin the wheel to drive sealant into the punch. Once the tire is airtight, check the tire pressure and proceed with your ride. Typically, these plugs will endure until a new tire is required.


How does one change a bicycle tire?

To change a bicycle tire, lay the bicycle on its side with the chain facing upward. If your bicycle is equipped with a fast release lever, open and remove it or use a wrench to loosen the bolts. Deflate the tire entirely, and then use a tire lever to remove it from the wheel frame.

How often should I replace the tires on my mountain bike?

If you are replacing the tire tube as part of routine bike maintenance, you can skip this step. Replace the tires on your mountain bike every 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers. [13] Repair or replace the tire's inner tube as necessary. Certain flat tire tubes can be fixed using glue or tape to patch the hole.

Final thought 

If you get a flat tire while out riding, knowing how to fix it on the side of the trail is an essential skill to have. Alright, time to go for a ride!

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